Industry averages for distributor sales may be down now, but two new studies by the Freedonia Group Inc., Cleveland, forecasts that demand for janitorial equipment and supplies and disinfectant and antimicrobial chemicals will return.

The demand for janitorial equipment and supplies is predicted to advance 2.4 percent per year to $7.6 billion in 2013, according to the study "Janitorial Equipment and Supplies." However, the growth of janitorial equipment isn't as strong as what was registered from 2003 to 2008 due to an expected deceleration in price increases and a weak nonresidential construction market.

Wipes are forecasted to have the strongest growth of any individual product because more specialized wipes are predicted to debut. Versatile products, including backpack vacuums and multi-purpose floor machines are forecasted to post above-average sales figures. More products are predicted to be developed to meet ergonomic and environmental concerns.

The institutional building market is projected to post the strongest growth of any market segment through 2013 due to increases in the amount of floor space. The growing concerns over contamination and air quality in schools and healthcare facilities will also fuel demand for equipment.

Another study related to the jan/san industry, "Disinfectant & Antimicrobial Chemicals," projects a 3.6 percent annual increase in demand for these chemicals to $1.2 billion by 2013. This is a substantial deceleration in value gains from the 2003 to 2008 period when growth was 7.7 percent.

Healthcare facilities will remain one of the largest markets for disinfectants. Industrial, institutional and commercial markets will see increased demand for disinfectants, as well.